Twins or Double Trouble?

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Twins and triplets look cute with their similar faces, cute smiles and matching clothes. watercolor-mothers-day-card_23-2147509354But ask their parents, especially their mother and you will realize that twins and triplets mean exhaustion, frustration, and tears for the mother. And this starts right from pregnancy.

In his book “Twins 101: 50 Must-Have Tips for Pregnancy through Early Childhood from Doctor M.O.M,” Dr. Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin stresses to parents to aim for fairness, not equality. And in this simple advice lies the secret of raising twins and triplets.

Most parents aim for equality but things are never equal with twins because they are individuals trapped with the same features and so they are treated as ‘one’ their entire lives, when they are actually two distinct individuals. Ask a mother of twins and she will confirm that when one child wakes up, the other child feels sleepy. When one child is active, the other child wants food. And so it is a roller coaster ride because one or the other always needs help, attention and support.

Some simple tips for parents with multiple children:

  1. Prepare for life after birth as soon as you know that you will be giving birth to multiple children. Think of how you can get extra help. Mothers please don’t try to do it on your own, it may be possible, but in the long run you will break down.
  2. Try not to buy everything similar for the kids. Learn to notice the individuality of collection-of-four-smiling-kids_23-2147608074each baby and let that blossom. Yes, they are growing up together so each child will want what the other has, so learn when to give in and when not to give in.
  3. They will fight for everything and they will team up against you! Yes expect these extremes, so try and have slightly separate schedules for your children so that you can give both your children an equal amount of attention. If  this is not possible, then try and give both your children equal attention during particular activities/every day rituals or you will end up always giving maximum attention to the demanding twin.
  4. Yes, one child is always dominant and one child is submissive. So early on, identify which child has which trait and match your parenting to their temperament.
  5. Give your self at least 20 minutes a day where you can unwind alone. It may appear to seem impossible in your mind but you need to plan it and you will achieve it.
  6. No amount of reading will prepare you to be a parent of twins because the secret is ‘temperament’  and it all depends on the temperament of your twins. So learn to recognize and adapt to it right from birth. Remember when parents ‘tamper with temperament’ it leads to ‘tantrums’.

Turn the word twins into an acronym and you will be able to bring some sense into the chaos called ‘twin parenting.’

T– TERRIFIC NOT TERRIBLE

Once the shock of knowing that you are having twins wears off, you will soon realize the benefits. You have completed your family in one shot. Both your children will grow up together, both will have a sibling and friend and you will soon be free to pursue your dreams as they will both grow up and become independent in no time. Yes it means double the cost and responsibility, so plan as soon as you get the news but stop feeling terrible about it.

W– WIN-WIN FOR ALL

When faced with a choice or a dilemma, choose the option in which everyone comes out a winner. To do that you may have to be firm sometimes but it works.

I-INDIVIDUALITY

Treat each twin as in individual or you risk your twins having emotional issues. So try to not to have favorites and train yourself to think as per the situation. If each twin needs a separate schedule, then do that. If both children are happy doing everything together, then encourage that. But don’t let either one of your children make the decisions for you, you need to make decisions based on the circumstance and situation at hand.

N– NO- AND STICK TO IT

Learn to say NO, and then stick to it. Bawling twins are a handful but once they realize that you are firm, they will adjust to your ways. Don’t be worried about being firm with thumb

the naughty one. Children have to realize early on that good behaviour will be accepted and incorrect behaviour will not be accepted.

S- SHARE YOUR WORK

Handling twins is not a one person job, so plan in advance and thinking about who can help your raise your little ones.  Could it be your husband, your mother, your sister, a nanny or a baby sitter? Choose wisely and ensure that you don’t divide the work but rather share the responsibilities. This means that you can’t allow for one person to be looking after one twin and for you to always be handling the other twin because this would breed sibling rivalry and mean more trouble for you.

 

In school or in a childcare setting, please guide the teacher on how to identify between the two, so that it is easier for the teacher and this in return will boost your children’s   self esteem as the teacher can identify them individually. Ideally try not to keep twinstwins 2 together in the same class as they will always be compared to one another. But some twins prefer to be together, either way ensure that the teacher/other staff treat them as individuals and not as ‘mirror images’. And yes if there is no uniform, do dress them differently. Let each child’s identity flourish and work on ensuring that they are not just labelled ‘twins.’

 

 

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Hickory Dickory Dock…The clock struck one

As we run around in a frenzy completing our day to day tasks, we almost end up running against time and many mothers wish that children would do more things on time and waste less time. For children to understand what time is and the act of being on time or wasting time, it is important that they understand the concept of time.

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What is time? How do we see it? Where do we see it? How do we know that time is up?

kids-with-empty-thoughts_1308-5083For us it is easy to understand these questions but these are concepts about time that we take for granted, and which can be confusing for a child .

 

The concept of time first begins in simple everyday rituals because till children cannot count, it goes without saying that they will be unable to understand what is the small hand on a clock, the big hand on a clock and when it is 2 o’clock etc. The understanding of time starts with simple everyday rituals and routines. ‘We will brush our teeth at 6, then we will have milk at 6:30, and then we will sit for a story at 7’. Children as young as 18 months can understand when you tell them what their routine is and infact kids love routine as it adds that much needed structure to their day and gives them things to look forward to. This is also good for their growing brains as brains thrive on routine and knowing what is coming next.

Singing to children songs about time, clocks and other time related concepts also helps. So when it’s time to put toys away it helps to sing the song given below. Similar songs can be sung for eating, brushing one’s teeth and other daily chores.

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‘Its time to put your toys away, toys away, toys away.

 

Its time to put your toys away. It’s time to end our game’.

Songs and rhymes like Hickory, Dickory Dock help children understand about the existence of clocks and make them aware of them in their environment.

clocks

The next step is to make a picture clock for your child which is in the shape of a clock but instead of the numbers has pictures of his/her daily activities in the same sequence. Where number 12 usually is on the clock, paste the child’s photo and on the other numbers place pictures of the child’s routine of the day. As the time to brush the teeth approaches put the big hand on the child’s photo and the small hand of the clock on the picture of the child brushing his/her teeth and say, ‘Lets see what time it is. Oh, its time to brush your teeth.’

The concept of time is not only about teaching a child how to ‘see’ time, but is also about teaching the importance of being on time, using time well and understanding that there is a special time for everything.

  1. Concept of being on time– This is extremely essential. At this age children learn by imitation, so your child will learn by looking at you and noticing your habits, so be punctual!
  2. realistic-hourglass-design_1284-1335Using time well– Here you can use different methods, for example use visible items like a sand timer so that children can see time passing and know when there is  little time  left to complete the activity etc.
  3. Special time for everything– Just like schools have a timetable, it is important that mothers make a timetable for home and help their child display it in their room, this helps children understand routine, structure and time management!

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Try out these time tested activities with your child and we guarantee that you will have the time of your life!

 

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Let’s play music!

The hand and the brain need each other. Neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain, and a brain is in search of a hand,” as Wilson said, “ The use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development.”

And the good news is that when your child is playing a musical instrument then the hand and the brain are connecting and helping your child grow. So do you need any more motivation to gift your kids’ musical instruments today? Read on and we have 11 more reasons!

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Playing musical instruments  has a good effect on your child’s growing brain, here are some things that you can do to expose your child to musical instruments:

  1. Buy a picture book  about musical instruments, name each instrument to your child and slowly your child will be able to name all the musical instruments.
  2. musical-instruments-vector-isolated-objects_1196-497For older kids help them understand the difference between instruments that need air and those that need strings etc, so that you are developing a deeper understanding of musical instruments with them and at the same time they are honing their observation, classification and set formation skills.
  3. Take children to a musical instruments store and explore the instruments theremusical-instruments-vector-isolated-objects_1196-497 and see what your child is interested in, and maybe you can first buy a younger version of the same. Remember not a toy version, a beginner’s version is better.
  4. If you find that it is too noisy to gift your child a musical instrument then select a specific time of the day and let your child play with it only then.
  5. Download instrument sounds from you- tube and listen to them with your child and connect to each instrument.musical notes
  6. Play a game of ABC with your child, name a musical instrument with each letter of the alphabet! Did you find all 26?
  7. If you want your kids to learn a musical instrument then share the fun of learning it with them, you explore it too!
  8. RecorderPlay a game, ‘Guess the instrument’, and ask thinking questions like, which instrument requires your finger and mouth to play it? (flute, recorder,etc). This thinking game helps kids relate instruments to facts about them.
  9. Let your kids draw different musical instruments and display them in the house.
  10. Go on a musical treasure hunt, hide chits with names of each instrument on them and as the child finds each chit, the child has to act out how he would play that musical instrument.
  11. Take them to a local museum to show them how  musical instruments have evolved over the ages.

Have a musical time with your child!

 

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What does the colour RED signify? Love? Stop? Or danger?

The love that you feel for your kids should be able to make you say STOP to a lot of things that are harmful for your kids. For example, an intake of  too many chemicals, eating too much fast food, playing too many video games, late nights, mall fun etc. So listed below are some things that you should immediately put a stop to in your child’s life if you really ‘love’ them, then show them the colour red- ‘STOP!’

stop sign

  1. Mall hopping-This is fine once a week but other times you should take your child to parks, beaches or on a treasure hunt around the city.
  2. fast-food-designs-collection_23-2147609981Fast food and packaged food is fine once a week too, as chemicals are entering your growing child’s body and causing havoc with his/her health and immune system.
  3. Show the colour red to your child for all kinds of soft drinks and wafers. If these were meant for kids then the ads would be targeted at kids, but they are not, they are targeted to the youth, so keep your kids away from them.fast-food-designs-collection_23-2147609981
  4. Show your child the colour red for late nights as your child’s brain is suffering because of late nights, after all the brain uses sleep time to sorting information and less sleep means the brain is not able to do its work. Children should be in bed by 9 pm. Yes, you heard it right, after all you love your kids don’t you?
  5. Your kids should not be watching television alone, you or another adult should always be with them, because it is important that you help them interpret the world of television to understand what is right and what is wrong etc.icons-about-journalism_1212-161
  6. Try to have a chemical free week! Yes, try to keep your kids away from every kind of chemical and understand how many chemicals you are pumping into your loving child unknowingly!

 

So do the above to use the colour red as a signal to STOP, now let’s learn about using the colour red as a sign for DANGER. This is for parents; remind yourself that too much love can be dangerous, very dangerous for your child’s emotional development and overall health. So learn to be firm. Too much of pampering and giving in to your child’s every demand spells danger, so look into your interaction with your child. Does your child win you over with tears and tantrums? Then red for love actually spells red for danger. Be firm about rules, be firm about what is good for your child and not what is good for you to keep your child quiet!

Now its time to add the color red in your child’s diet. After all this month is about the color red, so try the following in your child’s diet:

TOMATOES- Red for lovetomato

Correspond with: A tomato has four chambers and is red. Ditto for your HEART.

Their benefits: Tomatoes have fibre and lycopene, a type of phytochemicals. This is a powerful anti –oxidant. They also have Vitamin K which regulates blood flow.

Combine With: Lotus root, which resemble arteries. Okra is a good combo too since it’sfood-elements-collection_1212-397 known to purify blood capillaries. Tomatoes are best consumed through soups and sauces (without preservatives). While the raw form is healthy, cooked tomatoes are more advantageous as the heating process makes lycopene easily absorbable.

 

So red is for love and red is also to signal stop and danger..involve all three elements in your parenting.

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Round and round we go, sometimes fast and sometimes slow!

Have you seen children twirl around, again and again and again, spinning fast and slow until they feel giddy? Well, little children love round shapes, in fact the first squiggles that a little toddler draws on a piece of paper are round squiggles. The first shape he/she recognizes are round shapes.

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A round ball may be your child’s first toy and the first shape that he/she recognizes. But is a ball round in shape or is it a sphere?

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Yes, we commonly confuse balls as round, circle and sphere shaped. The ball is a sphere, a biscuit is round and a circle is what a teacher tells children to  form by holding hands  in  class. So,  a sphere is a 3 dimensional shape, round is a flat shape and a circle is the outer circumference of a round shape.

And children should always be taught both 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes together! Yes this was advocated by Froebel the Father of Kindergarten and he would give children 3 dimensional shapes  and have a song for each shape and so did Maria Montessori. She has ‘shape insets’ to teach children about flat shapes and she would recommend giving actual solid 3 dimensional shapes to children to hold and feel. This helps children better understand geometry in the later years.

The next time you want to buy a learning gift for your child, buy some Montessori toys.

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Children love everything that looks round in shape; the moon, round biscuits, a ball. But some round shapes are good and some are bad! So lets explore the good and the bad round shapes that your child may experience:

  1. Round biscuits are fine but not if they are too salty or too sweet like many cream biscuits.
  2. Round pizza is very unhealthy for children unless of course mummy has made it at home with  vegetables.
  3. Take your child and his/her favourite toy- the ball (sphere) to the garden and have fun with your child.
  4. The merry go round is a good activity for children to be involved in.
  5. A round watch or clock is good to teach your child the concept of time.
  6. Round sugar sweets are not good for children.

 

  • Have fun going on a treasure hunt with your child, create three columns on a paper- write round, circle and sphere and then go around the house and try to identify as many shapes as possible and when you find these three shapes, write down the names of the object in the correct column.
  • Similarly with other shapes teach your child the names of the 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional shapes, so try to find these too:
  1. Square – what is the 3 dimensional square called?
  2. Triangle- what is the 3 dimensional triangle called?
  3. Rectangle- is there a 3 dimensional rectangle? What is it called?

 

Have fun with the round shape family and by doing this you will be giving your child a firm foundation of geometry for life.

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Hop…..skip…..jump!

Children are always on the move, even when we expect them to sit straight!

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But here it is important for adults to read the following line- “Small muscle exercises stimulate brain growth”- so what we call ‘fidgeting’ and ‘hyper-active’  are just a child’s body requiring that movement to stimulate the neuron connections in his/her brain. This blog is dedicated to this tendency in children that always keeps them active and on the move. So let’s help kids hop…skip….and jump, after all it’s good for your child’s brain!

When a child starts fidgeting it is a clear  sign that his/her interest in the activity has started waning and so we need to stimulate the child.  Sometimes we need to ask children to get up, to turn around or to raise their hands and shake their fingers to get them to focus once again.  Children love movement, well we cannot blame them, they have just learnt to walk, to run and to jump and so naturally they would like to do these activities all the time, unless you get them interested in something that is more engaging than these new found skills!

Ten ‘brainy reasons’ why children should HOP…SKIP….JUMP and play:

  1. Touching, feeling, exploring, making and breaking are all activities that enrich the senses and this helps the brain develop new synapses.brain 1
  2. Free play, or play that involves choices, logic and thinking skills helps enhance the frontal lobe.
  3. The hand and the brain need each other: neurologically, “a hand is always in search of a brain and a brain is in search of a hand,” as stated by Mr. Wilson.
  4. The use of the hands to manipulate three-dimensional objects is an essential part of brain development.
  5. Imaginative play and role play are all part of symbolic play. Symbolic play is when aTe whariki 6 child can use a symbol or an object to represent another item, for example he/she uses a piece of block as a pretend telephone etc. When a child is able to experience symbolic play he/she will definitely be able to excel in reading and writing activities as reading is basically about representing a picture or a story through symbols (all letters and words are symbols).
  6. All play should be fun for kids as positive emotions enhance memory  and no play should be stressful or too competitive as our bodies release harmful chemicals under stress and these chemicals are not good for the brain
  7.  Play that is self-initiated, involving trial and error, problem solving skills, and cause and effect are good for developing the brain’s neural pathways.
  8. Play helps develop children’s language skills as the more sensory based experiencesbanana-phone the child has, the more the child will want to talk about their play and hence language development will be enhanced.
  9. Memory increases by revisiting information frequently- so play often, as children like to play the same games everyday, which is fine as long as they are interested in the game.
  10. Cross lateral movements keep both sides of the brain working- so the more creeping, crawling and marching play activities your child does, the better for his/her brain. How? Cross laterals are arm and leg movements that cross over from one side of the body to the other. Since the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa, the two sides of the brain are forced to communicate when the legs and arms cross over.

 

Help children hop, skip and jump and also develop their smarts.

 

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Why does my child refuse to share?

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Sharing and other social skills are part of social development, which includes  being able to participate in group activities, knowing how to behave in a group, how to wait for a turn and how to ask for things etc..(manners).

Children learn by imitation, so first of all the care giver must have the highest social skills.Social development is a process, it happens in steps and is also a product of the child’s observation. Hence social skills are best enhanced keeping in mind the developmental stage of the child and exposing him/her to the right environment, role models and activities for social development.

Play is the work of childhood and children learn through play. Play also defines the social development of the child. There are different age related stages of play, we are listing them into three broad categories:

1.Solitary play

2.Parallel play

3.Group play

 

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During the solitary play stage a child wants to be alone while playing, he/she gets irritable even if there is another child sitting near him/her, so you can forget about the

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child wanting to share their toys! This stage usually lasts up to 2 years and some children may move on from this stage at an earlier age whilst others may remain in this stage for a longer period of time. This depends on the environment and a lot of other factors. Children at this stage should be given their own toys and if in a school environment, then all the toys given to kids at any given time should be similar because children get irritable about ‘their space.’It is important to distance the children from each other and hence over crowded classrooms with less toys don’t work well for these children and they tend to be irritable and unsociable.

At the parallel play stage the child is now ready to have another child sitting near him/her   but still wants his /her  own toys, ( and even the the other child’s toys, it’s a stage of me, my, mine). It’s o.k if you put the child next to me, but see that he /she does not touch my toys!!!!!  This stage occurs between the ages of 2 and 3 years but sometimes children may continue to want to play in this way till the age of 4 years. scene-of-cute-girls-playing_23-2147610247

At the group play stage kids now enjoy playing in a group, but have yet to form an understanding of rules and regulations.

 

Now keeping these in mind, you can imagine how difficult  it will be for a child in the solitary play stage to be taken on a play-date where he/she has to share! Or for a child in the parallel play stage to share the swing or the slide whilst playing in the park. Due to the age of the child and the stage of play, it is but natural for children to throw tantrums when they are expected to play in a way that doesn’t match their stage of play.

 

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